Welcome to the BH&PS web site. 
We also have a Facebook page so please don't forget to "Like" us at


1:00 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
1:00 to 3 p.m. Summer Saturdays (June through October)
and by special appointment.

Call ahead for special tours of our collections or for access to our research library.  Books on Bristol history, historic maps, prints and other items are available for sale in our Museum Corner Gift Shop during open hours.

Society members will receive direct mailings of upcoming events 
and this site will provide updates as they occur.  To become a
 member, stop by the Society during open hours or click on 
the membership page to your left.





Sunday, January 29th
12 noon
S.S. Dion Restaurant,520 Thames Street, Bristol, RI

Limited Seating 
$35 Per Person

Please go to menu and reservation information at
WINTER LUNCHEON RSVP link at left (second from the top).


Illustrated Talk by Dr. Charlotte Carrington-Farmer

Modele d'un Moulin a Betes

(Translation:  Model of a Mill Using Beasts.  Illustration from the NY Public Library Digital Collections.)

Horses first appeared in New England in 1629, when Francis Higginson shipped approximately 25 mares and stallions from Leicestershire, England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. From this stock, the first horses made their way to Rhode Island less than a decade later. Horses were central to survival in terms of work, travel, communication, and leisure. However, for Rhode Island, horses were also a staple exportation commodity, and by the mid-eighteenth century the colony led the way in shipping horses to the sugar colonies. Horses were often directly traded for rum, sugar, molasses, and slaves.  Amongst the diverse breeds that were raised in Rhode Island, the Narragansett Pacer is exceptional in many ways. The Pacer’s easy gait made it suitable for both long-distance travel and racing. The Pacer was the first “truly” American breed of horse, and it was in high demand all around the Atlantic World. However, from such promising beginnings, the Pacer was extinct by the next century. This talk will explore why Rhode Island emerged as a leading breeding centre for horses, and how the rise and fall of the equine exportation industry was tied directly to the sugar markets.

Dr. Charlotte Carrington-Farmer is an Assistant Professor of History, and she specializes in early American History. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall) in 2010. Her dissertation was entitled 'Dissent and Identity in Seventeenth-Century New England', and is now a book project. Dr Carrington-Farmer's research interests center on framing dissent, deviance and crime in early America in a wider Atlantic World context. Dr. Carrington-Farmer is particularly interested in Thomas Morton, who founded the Ma-re Mount settlement (modern-day Quincy, MA), and she has written a biography of Morton for a book entitled Atlantic Biographies: Individuals and Peoples in the Atlantic World (Brill, 2013). Dr. Carrington-Farmer has reviewed a number of books for History: Reviews of New Books. She has also written the following article: 'Slave Horse/War Horse: The Narragansett Pacer in Colonial and Revolutionary Rhode Island’ War Horses of the World Proceedings (SOAS University of London, forthcoming 2014). Her new book project is tentatively titled: Slave Horse: The Narragansett Pacer in the Atlantic World. 


Guided museum tours are available during open hours.
 Tour the exhibits throughout the building including the old jail cells, the Burnside exhibit, the Children's Exhibit Room, the Almy Exhibit Room.  
Free to members and $3 for non members.  Bring your out-of-town guests for a tour!  
For group tours, please call ahead so that we may prepare for your visit.
Walking Tours of Downtown Bristol take place on Thursday afternoons from May through October.

SNOW DATE!  We changed our meeting from January 7th to January 14th!!

Next Meeting:  January 14, 2016, at 9 a.m.

Society Headquarters

The Club meets regularly on the 1st Saturday of the month except for July and August. If the Saturday falls on a holiday weekend, the group will meet the following Saturday.
Open To All - Just Walk In and Join the Group
send an email to: 
and request to be added to the Genealogy Club Mailing List for notices about upcoming meetings, general genealogical events throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and other information shared between members.

                   Individual Review of Research Problems

We have a very lively group and we devote a portion of each meeting to our "brick wall roundtable" to help members with their individual research problems.  The idea is for members to present their latest "brick wall" so others can help decide what to do next.  The purpose of this short session is not to review an entire family history nor is it to actually solve the entire brick wall but is instead to give ideas on HOW to solve it.

As of December 2015, Fire, Burglar and Security systems at the BHPS are fully installed due to the receipt of a generous $15,000 matching grant from The 1772 Foundation.  The BHPS has motion alarms and security cameras throughout the building, has a secured entry alarm system and a fire alarm system that is directly linked to the Town of Bristol Fire Department.  As part of its 2015 Matching Grants for Historic Preservation made available to organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island, The 1772 Foundation Grant has enabled the Society to protect its unique research library, its extensive paper document room, the significant portrait collection, and all of the other artifacts throughout the building.

Founded in 1936 to promote interest in historical research and preservation, to stimulate the study of the history of Southern New England, especially the Town of Bristol, to collect and preserve whatever pertains thereto, and to provide museum quarters for the exhibition of the same and a meeting space for our members.

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